The native genius inherent in man has ever been inspired and brought into use by Divine Providence, seemingly, to gratify and encourage man's ambitions to excel and progress in all of the many avenues opened in nature, in art and in science for the development of the same. This genius, guided by the "Law of Progress," knows "no such word as fail;" and it is only a question of time when success will reward the effort.
Man was born with a native love for amusements and pastime recreations, and hence the adage, "All work and no play made Jack a dull boy." All great and durable enterprises have had their beginning with the ordinary ignorance of the ordinary man. And when the right time should come, Providence has always transferred "nature's gift" to the more advanced and better educated man to accomplish and make perfect the work of genius. It is a truth in fact that "necessity is the mother of invention," and that "ignorance is the mother of genius;" and to both man may recognize his "birth-right"—so to speak—to the honors due, for the most, if not all, of the many enterprises which have rewarded his labors in many of the past centuries of the Christian era.
The "playing cards" are the production of an ingenious human device, derived from the divine origin of time; the history of which but little has heretofore been known and understood by the world of card players and the public in general. So far as the author is informed, no like historic record has ever been published, and card players have, seemingly, taken little or no interest to learn and know the historic origin of the greatest enterprise known to the sixteenth century, the period of their advent, so valuable and important to the present generation. A thorough and studied perusal of this work is recommended, and will convey much desirable information worth knowing, and will advance its present popularity and aid its future general publication.
The playing cards are of Egyptian origin and an ingenious human device, derived from the divine origin of time. The time is indefinite when Egyptian hieroglyphics were first carved on stone, representing four numbers: the No. 4, No. 12, No. 13, No. 52; in recognition of their Egyptian annual calendar of time. The number "four" representing the four seasons of the year—spring, summer, autumn, winter. The number "twelve" representing the twelve months of the year, January to December, inclusive. The number "thirteen" representing the thirteen weeks in each of the four seasons; and the number "fifty-two" representing the fifty-two weeks composing the full year. The playing cards represent the same identical four numbers, by the "four suits" of the pack, the "twelve face cards" of the pack, the "thirteen cards" in each of the "four suits," and the "fifty-two cards" composing the full pack.
It was in an early part of the twelfth century when mongrel Egyptians were first attracted by the same "four numbers," and with their native love for games, sports and amusements, sought to gratify their eager desires and bring them into use as the origin of future pastime recreations and social enjoyment. The ambition to gratify their desire continued and repeated itself through ten succeeding generations without success, as they were wholly unable to cope with so great an undertaking, by reason of their native ignorance, and thus did fail to introduce and apply the science required. A like ambitious desire was subsequently manifested by the more advanced, better learned and more intelligent Egyptians, who struggled with the same four numbers, and for the same gratification of their native love for sports and amusements as a pastime enjoyment. They labored long and perseveringly, beginning with the number 52 as of first importance. They were not long in recognizing a like importance of the number 13 in sequence order. After giving due and proper place to the number 4 in recognition of the four suits required, and by applying the two red suits in recognition of spring and summer and the two black suits in recognition of autumn and winter, they could thus represent, in due and proper contrast, the four seasons of the year. They could now have formulated and played their game in sequence order, by leaving out of use the number 12, and thus to break the complete chain of numbers required to make perfect their "annual calendar of time," in recognition of its divine origin, knowing full well that such omission could never be accepted as a popular and ingenious human device, consistent with the original undertaking of their boasted enterprise. This embarrassment continued long, fatiguing and discouraging to their ambitious enterprise, which, in the past, has ever been the experience of man in many of the progressive enterprises of human genius which now contribute so largely to the growth of greater facilities for a larger volume and better economy in many of the departments of business. Their new and original game could not be made durable and popular without the favorable recognition, sanction and acceptance of their honored "king and queen."
With this important end in view they counseled together, long and patient, without success, until one of their number broke the spell. "I have it." And when explained, they mutually decided to add to each of the four suits the figure-heads of the "King and Queen," and the king's "page" in armor, with helmet, shield and spear, later known to euchre as the "Knave" and now as the "Jack," thus bringing into use the much needed number 12, required to complete and make perfect their game, by making the four "Aces," alike in each of the four suits, the highest commanding card. With this completion, thus perfected, the players practiced long, making perfect their skill in the art and scientific use of their game.
With such complete and perfected practice of their game, the four players made personal application and asked permission to play their game on the floor of the "king's court," for the edification, amusement and enjoyment of their honored king and queen. They were granted the audience they had asked, and played their first initial game—as yet without name—in the early part of the sixteenth century; so still and silent, with no word spoken above the sound of a still small voice, until the full close of the play, when the king pronounced the name "Whist," (a silent "whist of the wind,") which has endured without change until the present time and will ever so continue. So elated with the game, so amused, gratified and entertained were the crowned heads of the king's court that the players were presented with a pecuniary compensation, equal to $1,000 of our money. It must be recognized that the players were the "subjects" of their king and queen, and could not be their "guests." The king and queen could not, would not, be the guests of their players; therefore, the game was the "guest" of the occasion and was so recognized.
The game of Euchre is of German origin, and was introduced to overcome the long, tedious and fatiguing game of Whist, and bring into use a much shorter, more jolly and more social game. The French copied from the Germans, and brought into use the same identical game under their French name of "Ecarte." The French are known to have introduced their game of "Ecarte" into the United States in the early settlement of New Orleans and the gulf coast of the present state of Louisiana. During the Crimean war French soldiers, when held intrenched, as a reserve, and a present safe keeping for future service, amused themselves by playing "Ecarte."
With the present introduction of the author's game of "Guest," the historic origin of playing cards may be accepted as full and complete, by the introduction of the three only original and legitimate games known to the playing cards. All others are but substitutes of a cunning device and without merit.
The game of Whist has been in use nearly four hundred years. The game of Euchre has been in use nearly one hundred years. The game of Guest has been in use nearly two years. It is already crowned as the superior game of the period, and is expressed as "perfection perfected."
Moral: The question of use and abuse? is one man must meet; the solution of and the answer to which man must be individually responsible.
There is nothing from the hand of the Creator which man may make so great, so good, so wise and profitable use as time. And there is nothing from the same divine source which man may make so little, so evil, so unwise and unprofitable use as time. There is nothing from the hand of man which may be made to contribute so much of good, wise and moral social enjoyment as the playing cards; and there is nothing from the same human source which may be made to contribute so much of evil, unwise and immoral social estrangement as the playing cards.
The question of good and evil is one which man must decide and establish as the basis of his individual character. Of the two contending forces in man, the final question is, "Which of the twain shall I release unto myself, and which shall I crucify? If I release the good and crucify the evil, then am I good. If I release the evil and crucify the good, then am I evil."
Copyright, 1893, by H. D. Catlin.
At the expense of time and study, of labor and cost, covering a period over-reaching two full years, the author, who is a retired accountant, book-keeper and cashier, of forty years practical experience, is now competent and fully prepared to issue his revised, corrected and perfected game of "Guest," for the purpose of copyright protection to himself, in the use and general publication of same, as hereinafter published and contained. It is now nearly four hundred years since the playing cards were first introduced, and with the exception of material and kind, of finish and design, there has been no change in the first original, fifty-two card pack, and never will be. The first original game of "Whist" could have had no previous history, no previous law and no rule beyond that adopted and practiced by the first original players for the edification, entertainment and amusement of their honored Egyptian king and queen, by whom their game was named, and will so remain, unchanged so long as playing cards continue in use. About one hundred years ago the German game of "Euchre" was introduced to overcome the long, tedious and fatiguing game of "Whist," but in doing so they did but overreach their mark and drifted upon an opposite extreme, making their game too short, too oft repeated and discouragingly monotonous. Like "Whist," they have no history, no law, and only such rules as they adopted and played at pleasure. Many changes have been introduced by the modern players of both games to overcome the two objectionable extremes peculiar to the two original games of "Whist" and "Euchre."
After a thorough study had been made, and a thorough knowledge of the origin of the playing cards had been acquired, the author of the present game of "Guest" was not slow to realize the importance of a third game, which could be introduced on the basis of an exact even divide between the two previous games of "Whist" and "Euchre," in every particular, and thus to meet the required want and supply the much-needed game, which may be best expressed as "perfection perfected." Such is the game of "Guest," and many old-time "Whist" and "Euchre" players have practiced and participated in the use of this new third game, who unanimously pronounce it to be the superior game of the period. When card players have made a study of the game, and also the law and the rule, and have familiarized themselves with the play of the same, they will then recognize the game of "Guest" to be as simple as "A, B, C," and as practical as "two and two make four;" a thoroughly scientific and mathematical game with no complications.
The game of "Guest" is strictly a scientific and mathematical game, and yet it is as simple as "A, B, C," and as practical as "two and two make four." It is void of any and all complications, and therefore it is not fatiguing, but on the contrary resting, giving the needed rest required to overcome the mental and physical fatigue of the day and affording a pleasant and enjoyable pastime, uniting the family and home society in a common, mutual and congenial domestic interest. To this end the game has never been equalled; it can never be excelled; it is "perfection perfected."
There can be only three original and legitimate games:
The three most popular games for all home, domestic and social entertainments. The game of "Guest" is the latest and best of the three games. It is played with a selection of thirty-six cards from the original fifty-two card pack, leaving out of use the four 5 spots, the four 4 spots, the four 3 spots, the four 2 spots; and with the introduction of the "Joker" thirty-seven cards are used for the required purpose of having "one odd card," which is, and must be, the defined "trump" with each and every deal of the cards. The deal is made as in "Whist," and the cards are played as in "Euchre."
The design of this game is recognized as "practical business." The "Guest" furnishes the capital by a system of irregular, alternate deposits in the hands of two contestants, business firms, with each and every deal of the cards. Such is the business capital of the two contestants, to gain and save to the end of the play, with success and defeat ever changing. Nine cards are given by the "Guest" (through the dealer,) to each of the four hands. The "Joker" must be held in one of the four hands and not permitted to be exposed on the table. To this end the two last cards, in hand of the dealer, should be consulted, when, if possible, the dealer takes the first and gives the second to the table as the gift of the "Guest" and decides the trump for each and every deal of the cards. The indicating trump on the table is of no value to the hand to be played, as it is the gift of the "Guest" and counts for nothing in the game. Inasmuch as trumps will always predominate, therefore, in honor of and complimentary to the "Guest," the first lead must be a trump card, if such is possible; otherwise the trump lead must pass to the next player; trump must lead; after which, any card may be led at the option of the next leader, when the three players must follow suit, if such is possible; otherwise trump may be played, at the option of the player, as in "Whist" or "Euchre." It will be observed that the trump suit will always be one card more than one-fourth of all the cards in use, and the three side suits (not trump) will always be one card less than three fourths of all the cards in use—ten trumps and twenty-six suit cards. Thirteen points constitute the full game. The counts are decided by subtracting the less number of tricks taken from the greater number, placing the balance to the credit of the parties showing the greater number of tricks taken in each and every hand played. All counts will, of necessity, be one, three, five, seven, or possibly nine, when a full march is made. The "Joker," with the use of the right and left bowers, are of the same value as in "Euchre;" otherwise all suit cards are played as in "Whist" and "Euchre" and of like value.
There is no trump to be taken up, no trump to be ordered up, no trump to be turned down, no alone hand to be played, no cards out of use, no idle player, and no time to be lost. "Time is money." The foregoing objections are more than overcome and compensated by the use and application of a "lapse" of one or more points, in excess of the thirteen points, and made to apply on the next succeeding game. If the winning partners stand on an even number of points they will "lapse" an even number; if they stand on an odd number of points they will "lapse" an odd number. If the game is correctly kept, and the total number of points to the credit of the two partnerships is correctly footed, then by subtracting the smallest total from the largest total, you may have a credit balance of points, showing a duplicate result of the evening's play and a "trial balance" proof of same.
We have endeavored to cover, as briefly as possible, all the ground required to make clear and concise the method of the game, and give the reasons why, after a period of nearly four hundred years, a new, improved and superior game is now demanded to meet the progress of civilization, and give to the public a more modern and advanced game, more in keeping with the spirit of the times, and more congenial to the social enjoyment of the many modern entertainments of the present day and generation.
The game of "Whist" is too lengthy, too fatiguing and too exhausting. The game of "Euchre" is too short, repeats itself too often, and soon becomes too monotonous and uninteresting. Catlin's game of "Guest" continues with unabated interest, does not fatigue and never exhausts. It is based on an exact even divide between the two games of "Whist" and "Euchre" in every particular. In the original game of "Whist" the full pack of fifty-two cards are used, and in the original game of "Euchre" thirty-two cards are used, just twenty cards less than in "Whist," and with the same number of twenty cards held in the four "Euchre" hands. In the present game of "Guest" thirty-six cards are held in the four hands—sixteen less than in "Whist" and sixteen more than in "Euchre." Twenty-one points constitute the original "Whist" game, thirteen points constitute the present "Guest" game, and five points constitute the original "Euchre" game—a difference of eight points in each of the three games. Thirteen cards are held in each of the four hands in "Whist," nine cards are held in each of the four hands in "Guest," and five cards are held in each of the four hands in "Euchre"—a difference of four cards in each of the three games.
In recognition of the two numbers 20, and in remembrance of the twelve idle cards on the table out of use, unknown and embarrassing to the players of "Euchre," the fifty-two card pack, from which the game of "Whist" derived its origin, may be accounted for with special favor on the side of Catlin's new, ingenious and scientific game of "Guest." It is a very genteel game, a very simple game, a very practical game; strictly mathematical, educating mental culture as an accomplishment.
The law of the game of "Guest" is fixed, arbitrary, abiding and unchangeable; otherwise it could not be the superior, scientific and mathematical game designed by the author, and must of necessity be at the mercy of many devices of many players, and soon would cease to be the only law-abiding game known to the historic origin of the playing cards, and sustained by the law of the game which prompted the basis of its origin. The law is fully defined by the following sections:
First—The name "Guest" is fixed, arbitrary and unchangeable, signifying its origin, as expressed in the published game.
Second—The peculiar selection of the thirty-six cards—from ace to six spot, inclusive—as expressed.
Fourth—The thirteen points required to make and constitute the full game, as expressed.
Fifth—The method of count, by subtracting the less number of tricks from the greater number, giving credit, balance only, to the side of the greater number, as expressed.
Sixth—The first lead must be a trump card when possible; otherwise pass the lead to the next player. Trump must lead.
Seventh—The lapse of all points, one or more, in excess of the thirteen points, to apply on the next succeeding game.
Eighth—The position of the indicating trump on the table must be at the left hand of the present dealer, at the right hand of the one who must deal next, under the eye of the four players, and no question to ask or answer is required.
Finale—The game is sustained by the best and most modern law known to the best and most modern system of "Double Entry Book-keeping," on the basis of defined balances, with each and every business transaction, as proved by the final balance sheet of the evening's play of the game of "Guest."
Rules for the play of the game of "Guest" may be at the option of, and sustained by the judgment of each player, so long as the law of the game is fully understood, applied and sustained, with no deviation whatever.
For your second and subsequent leads play the ace, when such is possible; otherwise play your smallest suit card, trusting the result to your partner's play.
When the leader holds a single card of any one of the three side suits, it is desirable for a second or third lead to reduce suit, and thus to give an added opportunity for the subsequent play of trump, trusting the result to your partner's play.
The three games may all alike be made "progressive," and conform to modern custom, under the three popular names of—
The merit due to the game of "Guest" is its practicability, simplicity and perfect harmony, overcoming the two objectionable extremes, alike peculiar to the two games of "Whist" and "Euchre." The strength of this present game is in the close attention and watchful observance of the players, remembering the cards as played and to be played, which may be known alike to each of the four players by a studied application to the play of the game.
Copyright, 1893, by H. D. Catlin.